Following weeks of legal jockeying over the implementation of a universal mask mandate in Dallas County, judge Clay Jenkins’s office has claimed yet another victory in the fight to require face coverings.
On Wednesday, judge Tonya Parker issued a temporary injunction that would prohibit Gov. Greg Abbott’s statewide order banning cities, schools, and other local government entities from implementing mask mandates. It’s similar to a previous decision issued by Parker in early August, which allowed the county-wide mask mandate to go into effect despite strong opposition from Abbott and Texas attorney general Ken Paxton.
According to Jenkins, that means Dallas County’s “universal” mask mandate is back in effect. That mandate requires that all businesses develop a “health and safety” policy detailing its COVID-19 mitigation protocols, including a requirement that all patrons and employees wear masks. The policy must also be publicly posted in establishments that serve customers, like restaurants.
On August 16, the Abbott and Paxton appealed Parker’s initial ruling on the Dallas County mandate to the Texas Supreme Court, which granted anti-mandate activists a win by refusing to uphold the injunction issued by Parker. The Texas Supreme Court ruling put the mask mandate in serious legal limbo, but Jenkins maintained that his office would continue to enforce a modified version of the mask mandate that removed penalties for businesses that did not comply.
The Texas Supreme Court has still not issued a full ruling on the legality of Dallas County’s mask mandate.